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Royal Caribbean still planning to complete postponed cruise ship makeovers

10 Jun 2020

Royal Caribbean announced on Tuesday it was postponing its scheduled cruise ship upgrades on 4 vessels, but the cruise is still planning to do this work down the line.

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Vicki Freed spoke to travel advisors in a weekly webcast on Wednesday and reiterated the cruise line's commitment to adding these upgrades.

I want to make sure to reiterate that they are simply being placed on a temporary hold. And we look forward to amplifying these great ships sometime in the near future.

The previously scheduled amplifications were to take place in 2020 and 2021:

Allure of the Seas was scheduled to undergo a 58-day, $165 million transformation that would have added new features, including the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, completely redesigned Adventure Ocean kids and teens spaces, the first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, and Music Hall.

Similarly, Explorer of the Seas was planning to get a $110 million amplification that would have added a number of changes from bow to stern.

Royal Caribbean's Royal Amplified program was announced in March 2018, and it was a $900 million investment in the Oasis, Freedom and Voyager Class cruise ships.

The program managed to enhance a number of ships, including: Independence of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.

The Royal Amplification program breathed new life into existing ships, and drove revenue as high as guest satisfaction with the changes.

"Our vessel modernization program is driving strong results," Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said,  "These upgrades are expensive, but our guests love them and reward us accordingly."

Incidentally, the indefinite postponement of these ship upgrades means certain amenities that became "cult-classics" among some cruise fans will live on longer, including Sabor and the Champagne Bar. These were to be replaced with new venues during the amplification process, but have a new lease on life for the time being.

Royal Caribbean postpones Royal Amplifications on its cruise ships until further notice

09 Jun 2020

Royal Caribbean announced that due to the impact of COVID-19, the cruise line has postponed its upcoming amplifications until further notice.

On Tuesday, the cruise line issued updates regarding the schedule for Allure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas.

The Allure of the Seas Amplification has been postponed until further notice. Additionally, due to pier construction delays in the Galveston terminal, the pier will unfortunately not be ready to welcome an Oasis Class ship. Therefore, Allure will no longer sail from Galveston, Texas, and rather, Liberty of the Seas will assume Allure’s itineraries in late 2021.

The Adventure, Explorer and Liberty of the Seas Amplifications have also been postponed until further notice. All Explorer sailings will be cancelled through August 2020 to complete a technical dry dock.

Guests on affected sailings will be notified directly more details and options available.

Warnings this was coming

Royal Caribbean warned a change like this was coming, when in May it told investors the necessary steps it would take to cut operating costs during the suspension of its global cruise operations.

Among the cuts, the cruise line identified approximately $3.0 billion and $1.4 billion of capital expenditure reductions or deferrals in 2020 and 2021.

In addition, the Port of Galveston had shared publicly its vote to approve Royal Caribbean's request for a delay in building a new cruise terminal in Galveston.

Royal Caribbean puts Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas amplifications on hold due to coronavirus impact

18 Mar 2020

Royal Caribbean has confirmed that the planned amplifications of Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas are on hold, due to the global impact of coronavirus.

Both ships had multi-million dollar amplifications scheduled for this year, but the work has been put on hold and the extend of enhancements to come is being re-evaluated.

Royal Caribbean confirmed on social media what many had feared was the case, following the closure of many European ports, along with Royal Caribbean's decision to cut 2021 capital expenditures.

A statement by Royal Caribbean confirms the post on social media.

In these unprecedented times, in addition to voluntarily suspending our global operations, port closures and travel restrictions have also affected the possibility of moving forward with our amplifications of Explorer of the Seas in Brest, France and Allure of the Seas in Cadiz, Spain this spring. Both amplifications have been put on hold at this time. With global developments rapidly evolving, we are reviewing all options to bring Explorer and Allure into dry dock this year and determining the extent of the enhancements we can implement.

Allure of the Seas was scheduled to undergo a 58-day, $165 million transformation that would have added new features, including the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, completely redesigned Adventure Ocean kids and teens spaces, the first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, and Music Hall.

Similarly, Explorer of the Seas was planning to get a $110 million amplification that would have added a number of changes from bow to stern.

Royal Caribbean is currently not operating any cruises because of a month-long suspension of sailings to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Allure of the Seas amplification postponed due to Spain's port closure from Coronavirus fears

14 Mar 2020

It appears Allure of the Seas scheduled $165 million amplification is on hold temporarily while all of Spain's ports are closed for at least two weeks due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Oasis of the Seas in Cadiz, Spain during her 2019 Royal Amplification

Local media reports in Spain say that Allure of the Seas was scheduled to undergo the Royal Amplification at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, but that has been postponed.

Spain's Council of Ministers announced that in an effort to avoid Coronavirus, cruise ships from any origin will not be permitted to visit Spanish ports between March 13 and 26.

No official word by Royal Caribbean on the impact, if any, on the timetable for Allure to rejoin the fleet. The delay in work may be mitigated by a number of other Coronavirus travel restrictions and port closures in Europe that have the entire European cruise season in doubt.

Once the work begins, Allure of the Seas will undergo a 58-day, $165 million transformation that will add new features, including the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, completely redesigned Adventure Ocean kids and teens spaces, the first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, and Music Hall.

Allure was scheduled to resume sailings in May 2020 with 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises sailing roundtrip out of Barcelona.

Freedom of the Seas completes $116 million Royal Amplification

09 Mar 2020

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas completed her $116 million amplification, and is back in service offering cruises to the Southern Caribbean.

The ship underwent a bow to stern makeover, with new features being added including water slides, a new Caribbean pool deck look, the cruise line’s first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and new, dedicated spaces for kids and teens. 

Here is a look at the new changes:

Thrills & Chills

Perfect Storm Waterslides:  Cyclone & Typhoon slides.

A resort-style Caribbean poolscape – Featuring a whole new look, signature poolside bar The Lime & Coconut, live music and a wider variety of seating and shade with the addition of casitas, in-pool loungers and daybeds, the reimagined pool deck is where pool days become an all-day affair.

Splashaway Bay kids aqua park.

Renewed adults-only Solarium.


Photo by Linken DSouza

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen: Freedom of the Seas is the first to receive this refresh of Royal Caribbean's Italian specialty restaurant, it serves up a reimagined menu of fresh pastas, custom pizzas, and more. It also features a wide selection of wines and limoncello.

Photo by Linken DSouza

El Loco Fresh: Complimentary Mexican serviced poolside including tacos, burritos and quesadillas. The venue is the first El Loco Fresh that includes a full-service bar with a wide selection of tequilas.

Izumi Hibachi & Sushi: From sushi to sashimi and hibachi, Izumi a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Photo by Travis Kamiyama

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Catch live games on more than 100 TVs, play arcade classic and enjoy classic bar fare and ice-cold brews.

Things to do

Clash for the Crystal City Laser Tag : Two clans, the Yetis and Snowshifters, collide in this glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure for control of a mystical frozen city.

Adventure Ocean: Royal Caribbean has revamped its youth program on Freedom with a new layout that encourages kids to choose their own immersive adventures across several rooms:

  • Play Place, the whimsical space with climbable creations
  • Arena, where there’s friendly competition
  • Hangout, a space to chill and call their own.

Three- and 5-year-olds and toddlers (6-36 months old) each have dedicated spaces with AO Juniors and AO Babies, respectively.

Social033: Teens will rejoice in their exclusive hangout, entirely redesigned to feature the latest in movies, gaming and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck.


Royal Caribbean has also added Freedom of the Seas to its new app. Guests can check-in for their cruise and take advantage of Expedited Arrival.

Onboard the ship, the app can plan activities for each day, view onboard expenses, and make reservations for dining, shore excursions as well as shows, and the in-app TV remote available for each stateroom.

Freedom offers 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Itineraries from Barbados and Antigua, to the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) are available to enjoy.

Royal Caribbean cancels five Liberty of the Seas sailings to provide more time for ship amplification

08 Jan 2020

Royal Caribbean informed guests on five sailings in 2021 that their cruises have been cancelled in order to provide extra time for the ship's scheduled dry dock next year.

The cruise line confirmed that five sailings are being cancelled, beginning with the February 14, 2021 sail date.

An extended dry dock is necessary in order to perform the upgrades and enhancements the ship will receive as part of Royal Caribbean's more than $1 billion Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort.

Guests on the affected sailings received emails to inform them of their options, which include being rebooked on other Liberty of the Seas sailings later in 2021, or Jewel of the Seas during the same time period. Alternatively, guests may choose to re-book on a different Royal Caribbean International sailing or cancel the cruise all together.

Royal Caribbean has not announced what changes and upgrades are coming to Liberty of the Seas yet.

Royal Caribbean talks Hurricane Dorian hit on revenue, impact of ship upgrades, Perfect Day at Lelepa and more

30 Oct 2019

During an earnings call with investors today, Royal Caribbean's executives discussed a variety of topics related to the company's financial success in the third quarter. Part of those discussions shed some light into various plans and progress being made by the cruise line that guests may find intriguing.

Hurricane Dorian cost Royal Caribbean $27 million

Anytime a hurricane disrupts cruise itineraries, there is an impact on Royal Caribbean's bottom line, but Hurricane Dorian caused the largest impact of any hurricane in Royal Caribbean's history.

Royal Caribbean Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty characterized Hurricane Dorian's unusual, one-time impact on Royal Caribbean's financial performance.  Three main Florida embarkation ports closed on a weekend as a precautionary measure.  These measures impacted 16 sailings and made this the most disruptive storm in the company's history. 

The financial impact was particularly large because the affected ships included the very successful Oasis-class, because Perfect Day at CocoCay was closed for 10 days, and because of the cruise line's extensive relief efforts.  The combination of guest compensation, the closure of Perfect Day at CocoCay and the relief efforts negatively impacted the third quarter by $27 million.

Guests love the upgrades and enhancements

Royal Caribbean's investments in destinations and ships continue to be a hit with guests who are booking cruises to experience them.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain spoke about this effect, "Perfect Day at CocoCay continues to amaze our Royal Caribbean International guests, and boost our bottom line. Our vessel modernization program is driving strong results. These upgrades are expensive, but our guests love them and reward us accordingly."

"Or take our investments in technology, which are beginning to bear fruit. These investments are expensive, and demanding, but they improve the experience for crew and guest alike. They make us more attractive, or more efficient. "

Perfect Day at Lelepa will built with sustainability in mind

Royal Caribbean recently announced a new Perfect Day island destination in Vanuatu, and the island will be powered by renewable sources of energy to ensure it is carbon footprint is reduced.

Mr. Fain spoke about their plans for Lelepa, "There's also one, very special aspect of this project that is also worth noting. Lelapa will be the first private cruise destination in the world that achieves carbon neutrality. All of the energy consumed will be generated from renewable sources. Accomplishing that requires both major investment and major innovation, but Perfect Day at Lelapa will be rich in both."

A look at how many guests are experiencing Perfect Day at CocoCay

You do not have to listen to earnings call with investors to know Perfect Day at CocoCay has been a giant hit with guests.

Mr. Liberty mentioned at one point in the call, more than 70% of Royal Caribbean's guests sailing on a Caribbean cruise will experience Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Plans for Perfect Day at Lelepa

Royal Caribbean International CEO and President Michael Bayley provided a few details on Perfect Day at Lelepa in Vanautu during the call.

Mr. Bayley indicated Perfect Day at Lelepa should open in late 2021 or early 2022.

He also said that guest volume for Perfect Day at Lelepa will be less than Perfect Day at CocoCay, "The volume will be less less than Perfect Day at CocoCay, which I think at its peak in a few years will get to close to 3 million people going there. The number for Vanuatu, I think, reaches close to 750-800,000 is currently in our plans."

Photos: Oasis of the Seas begins $165 million amplification

27 Sep 2019

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas arrived earlier this week in Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain to begin her $165 million amplification.  

The cruise line shared photos of Oasis undergoing the beginning of the work that will add a variety of new features, including the  Ultimate Abyss; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, a reimagined, Caribbean pool deck; new kids and teens spaces transformed from top to bottom, and more. You can view the deck-by-deck changes to Oasis of the Seas.


The modernization will take 63 days. The amplified Oasis will set sail on Nov. 24, 2019, beginning 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Royal Caribbean’s new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in Miami. Oasis then moves to the New York City area in May 2020 as the largest ship to sail from the New York area. Oasis will reposition to her new summer home at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, offering 7-night sailings to The Bahamas with visits to Royal Caribbean’s newly transformed private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

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